Constipation is a common digestive ailment of the digestive system. It occurs when a person finds it difficult to pass the stools on a regulated basis. The less frequent bowel movements are regarded as constipation when the frequency of bowel movements is three or less in a week. At times, constipation can be a result of a blockage in the large intestine; in such situations, immediate medical attention is needed. In other cases, high fibre diet and proper consumption of water can help. It is more common in older people as they are less active and their metabolism is comparatively slow.
Some of the symptoms of constipation include:
- Passing less than three stools a week.
- Having hard and stiff stools.
- Straining to have bowel movements which also lead to rectal bleeding.
- A feeling of persistent blockage in the rectum tract
- Feeling of inability to empty the bowels through your rectum
- The Need of assistance to pass the stool like pressing on the abdomen to push out faeces or using a finger to clear it out.
- pain and cramping in the abdomen
- experiencing a loss of appetite
The following are the causes of constipation:
- Lack of fibre in diet: A high amount of fibre in the diet promotes regular bowel movements. Some foods which are rich in fibre include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, lentils, chickpeas, and other legumes.
- Lack of physical activity: People with lower physical activity have higher chances of constipation.
- Irritable bowel syndrome: People with issues such as irritable bowel syndrome have higher chances of suffering from constipation.
- Some medications: some medicines like opioid pain relief drugs, tricyclic antidepressants, calcium channel blockers and certain antacids with calcium and aluminium can induce this condition.
- Avoiding the use of a bathroom when it's needed.
- Not drinking enough water.
The choice of treatment depends upon the severity of the condition and one's own decision. Here are some of the treatments:
- changes in lifestyle: Drinking enough water and adding fibre rich foods can help you with the infrequent bowel movements.
- Medication: The doctor will prescribe some medicines to help you with your bowel, also, take your medication regularly and inform your doctor if you see any unusual effects.
- Surgery: This is a rare case if the colon is severely blocked and cannot be cleared with other methods.